Competitive Runner And Bikini Competitor Holly Bricken Talks To Muscle & Strength
What is your athletic background, and how did you get involved with bikini and running?
I’ve always loved all things fitness, but have never been a competitor until now. Four years ago I decided to take my love for health and fitness to another level and make it my full-blown lifestyle. After attending Monica Brant’s FEM Camp in 2010, I started laying out my 1 year, 3 year, and 10 year goals, which were focused on fitness and modeling.
The part I love the most about this sport is meeting new people and watching your body as you take it to new levels you didn’t know were possible. On the opposite side, it’s hard to mentally acknowledge that no on can be in competition shape year round. We tend to strive for perfection and perfection doesn’t exist 24/7/365. I never knew about post competition blues until after my first competition.
What do you love most about competing?
One of the things I love most about competing is seeing the dramatic changes you can make to your body when you put in hard work and determination. Also, in a competition setting it’s amazing to see the camaraderie among the athletes backstage. Yes, we all want the same thing, but we also have so much in common. How could we possibly not get along?
What are your future goals, dreams and plans?
My future goals are long and lofty. At this point in my fitness career, my objectives have turned to training, competing, and modeling as I look toward my dream of inspiring and motivating other athletes through my strong images online and in print.
How often do you perform cardio?
I make it my goal to do at least 45 minutes of cardio a day at least six days a week, but I aim for seven if I have time. My three go-to cardio workouts are distance runs, intervals, and stairs. Depending on what I’m training for, the time and intensity are adjusted accordingly. When training for a race, I focus on distance runs. When trying to burn fat, I incorporate distance, intervals, and stairs into my cardio routine.
What are some of the most common mistakes made when someone is trying to build muscle and/or get ripped?
The most common mistake I see made when someone is trying to build muscle and/or get ripped is not getting enough protein in his or her diet. With so many forms of protein available, getting enough protein should be easy if you’re mindful of your dietary intake. I always advise 1.0 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight for someone looking to build muscle.
Do you have any gym, muscle building or fitness pet peeves?
My number one pet peeve at the gym is not wiping down the equipment after using it. Not only is it disgusting to go use a machine that has someone’s sweat or hair grease on it, it is extremely unsanitary. Staphylococcus is one of the most common infections in gyms and can be easily avoided with a simple wipe-down after your set.
Second pet peeve – throwing weights. This does not make you look more muscular or make you stronger! My thought is if you can’t carry the weights back to the weight rack to re-rack them, they’re too heavy for you to use. Throwing weights bends the handles, which in turn makes them unusable to others.
What are your best tips for getting ripped and shredded abs?
My best tip for getting ripped and shredded abs is DIET. You can do a million crunches, but if you have a layer of fat over them you’ll never see them. I love the saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.”
What advanced training techniques work well for you?
When working out I absolutely love supersets and negatives. The pump you get from supersets is amazing and the burn you feel from negatives just screams strength and size to me.
What does your post-workout nutrition and supplementation look like?
My current supplementation consists of:
How do you prepare meals? Do you cook daily or cook for the week?
The key to staying on track with your diet is being prepared. I prep and cook my food three times a week (Sunday – Tuesday – and Friday.) The two appliances in my kitchen that I use the most are my oven (baked chicken is a staple in my house) and my rice cooker. My refrigerator is loaded with Tupperware containers containing weighed out baked chicken, measured brown rice, and ready to eat veggies.
What are your favorite cheat meals and foods?
Let’s be honest. We all have a craving for something not so healthy sometimes. My go-to cheat (or “reward”) meals include anything Mexican (fajitas and queso…mmmm) or ice cream. One of the things I like most about eating healthy though is finding alternatives to your favorite cheat meals. Since I love chips and salsa, I’ve started making my own tortilla style chips using baked brown rice tortillas that I cut into chip sized pieces and dip with fresh salsa or pico de gallo. YUMMM!
What are your thoughts of niche diet approaches like the Paleo Diet, Adkins Diet, Keto Runs, the Warrior Diet, Intermittent Fasting, etc.?
I’m definitely not into niche diet approaches. Most fad style diets lack proper nutrition, thus making them hard to stick to for long periods of time. They also have a tendency to make you regain the weight you lost and more once you stop them. The best approach, in my opinion, is to change you eating habits altogether.
Filter out processed foods and add in lean proteins, fresh vegetables, fruits, and healthy carbohydrates to your diet. Also, remember to control portion sizes – there’s no reason to stuff yourself when you know your next meal is only a couple hours away!
What are some of your favorite supplements and why?
I love the entire Optimum Nutrition/American Body Building line of products. I’ve been a loyal customer of ON/ABB since I began working out and have never been disappointed in the quality of their products. ON/ABB products are among the top sports nutrition supplements available and in my opinion, are unmatched by any other brand in the industry.
Their protein powders are smooth and extremely easy to cook with, which is a huge bonus for those of us looking to make healthy alternatives to our favorite meals. My favorites include:
Workout music – what’s on your MP3 player?
I have to have music when I workout. The right song can make or break a cardio session or intense set with weights. Right now I’m listening to DJ Chuckie, Lil John, Swedish House Mafia, Stanton Warriors, Deadmau5, DJ Khaled, 311, and Benny Benassi.
What are some of your favorite motivational quotes?
- “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” – Vince Lombardi
- “It’s your world. Shape it or someone else will.” – Gary Lew
- “It’s never too late to become what you might have been.” – George Elliot
- “Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do it better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” – Oprah
If someone wants to connect with you, where can you be found?
Favorite activities and hobbies you enjoy when away from the gym?
Outside of the gym I have many hobbies. I love anything outdoors and active. In the summertime you can find me on the wakeboarding with friends, biking through the trails in Austin, or paddling away on a SUP (stand up paddle board). Winters are dominated with snowboarding and skiing in Colorado and Utah. I never pass on an opportunity to travel either. There is so much to see in the world and I’ve only just started.
Movies and TV shows you’ve enjoyed recently?
I’m not a huge movie buff, but I never pass on a great comedy. Some of my favorites include There’s Something About Mary, Super Troopers (all right meow – lol), Pineapple Express, Swingers, and The Hangover.
Funniest thing you’ve seen at the gym recently?
I was running on the treadmill a few weeks ago and couldn’t help but notice this girl on the treadmill in front of me. I have absolutely no idea what she was doing or how it was considered cardio. She had the machine set to 1.5 for her speed and started dancing on it as it moved. If I was doing intervals at a high speed I may have fallen off from laughter.
Which college or professional sports teams do you root for?
College football is my go to sport to watch in the fall. I love Saturdays for this reason! As alumni of The University of South Florida (USF), I always root for the Bulls. Even now that I live in Texas my USF flag hangs proudly outside my front door. Hurry up September and get here already!